Is Standing Good For You?
We all know that being inactive is not good for our health and can lead to weight gain and a number of chronic health conditions, but is standing in itself good for you? When we’re sitting down we’re not burning many calories but there’s more to it than that. Sitting decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which helps burn fat. LPL triggers the release of fats into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, another enzyme, lipase, is prompted to activate the fat burning process. By standing up, LPL is activated, setting the whole process in motion.
Many of us have quite sedentary lives, sitting in the office or working from home on a laptop and it’s easy for hours to go by without noticing how long we’ve been immobile. Studies have shown that by simply standing up for 90 seconds every 20 minutes our cells automatically activate the release of those essential enzymes into the bloodstream. This triggers fat burn, regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels whilst fuelling our cells to boost energy levels. By getting up and standing more throughout the day, you’ll burn more calories which, over the course of a week can add up to significant numbers.
Sitting for long periods of time can cause the back to contract and compress the discs which can cause back pain, stiffness, inflexibility and discomfort. To alleviate this, our backs need good blood circulation. By standing up we increase the blood flow to the discs which gives them the nutrients they need to stay flexible, whilst reducing stiffness and relaxing the muscles.
Alongside all of this, standing increases blood flow to the brain which enhances cognitive function making us more alert, and boosts the release of hormones such as dopamine and serotonin which help to improve mood.
In a nutshell, standing is by far a better option than sitting. It has many health benefits including more calorie burn, improved blood circulation and increased alertness and memory function. Of course a regular exercise routine will help keep you fit, but even making these small changes can have such a significant impact on your health. In particular, it is the frequency of each standing session that will benefit you the most - it is better to have many shorter sessions throughout the whole day than to have one long session at the end of the day.